I started one of my posts recently with the line ‘I want to be the best possible advert for recovery’. This still stands and slowly, I notice things happening in my life that are very good material for the above project. In the past two months things have happened in my life that didn’t happen before. Before, everything felt difficult and laborious and I was forever banging my head against a wall. Now, things are still difficult (the employment sector, holla, Finnish bureaucracy and public health/social care, holla), but I have the energy to fight against the obstacles I come across and sometimes I manage to blast them to pieces.
Also, and this is really important, I have started making connections. I am no longer afraid of people and that they think that I am a bad person. I love people, but my illness thinks people will say something bad about me because I am bad and deserve nothing good from anyone. I spent a long time being very isolated because I was so afraid of people. I didn’t think I had anything to offer to anyone, but most of all, I was so so scared. A person whose sense of self and self-worth is very vulnerable, can be affected by the tiniest bit of criticism. Criticism wasn’t something I faced awfully often, but I was paranoid that whenever I was in touch with anyone, criticism would definitely follow. That people had nothing but bad things to say about me. So I stayed at home, making no new friends whatsoever. Networking abilities – zero.
Now I am meeting new, interesting people every day. Making connections that may be brief, but who cares. Every new person I get to meet and have a conversation with enrichens my life. All I want to do in life is to talk to people!
I was at a peer support evening a couple of days ago and the topic was ED and social relations. Perhaps my attendance at this event is why I am writing about this topic today. But also, the concrete changes that have happened in my social life in the past year or so are a manifestation of how much of social interaction an ED can rob you of. Last summer I met some new people and spent time with friends. It was wonderful. Still, there was an element of restriction (compulsive thoughts ahoy!) in how I was able to interact with people. And of course I avoided spending too much time with people, avoided eating with them. Actually, one of the happiest times I had last summer was the two days I spent at a summer festival with a group of friends. Because at the festival I ate and drank, I had enough energy to feel happy. I had enough time to myself, to enjoy independent excursions to see my favourite bands. But I also spent time with my friends and felt such happiness.
That two days was the life I want. Sunshine, people and happiness. That is the life my ED tried to rob me of, and has managed to, in part, for many years. But that stops now and this summer, I will do every single thing I want, with all the people I want to do them with, and my ED will no longer stop me from doing this. I deserve happiness, just like every other human on this planet.
Today is my two-month anniversary in recovery. The sun is shining. I am still alive. All of this feels wonderful.